Monday, June 11, 2007

Silver Surfer: Requiem #1

Silver Surfer: Requiem #1
See, I always wondered about that. If he's so stretchy, why doesn't Reed just sit in a comfy chair or couch instead of bending over his microscope? I know that it can't be uncomfortable for him, but it sure looks uncomfortable (and is, for those of us of the non-stretch persuasion). But JMS explains it all, in terms that make so much sense that if he were writing the explanation in a letter, he'd have won a no-prize: Reed tried it once, but it looked so freaky that Sue told him that if he ever did it again, he'd spend six months sleeping on the sofa!

However, and this may be my failing to have read enough old comics, did Galactus really tell Norrin that he didn't have a herald? The dialogue here strongly implies that the idea was a new one to Galactus. But we've seen that he's had many, many heralds. Sure, the Silver Surfer isn't the LEAST of them, but he's not the first.

Also, another question just occurred to me. Galactus is not a malevolent entity, he simply IS. That being the case, why would it matter to him if a world were inhabited or not? And since it obviously wouldn't matter to him, then why would he require that it not matter to his herald? Obviously he wouldn't. So why remove the herald's conscience and memory? Just let the herald serve the food and let Galactus eat it - regardless of the herald's personal moral requirements. Ahhhh, but then we wouldn't have had the first Galactus story, and possibly no others. So, literary requirement, I suppose. Still, if anyone has an answer, let me know please. But send it in an email to Marvel so that you can win your no-prize, first.

I find it difficult, after all this time, to believe that nobility in the face of death is an exclusively human trait. Or that it is, rather, exclusive enough that no other race which was ever fed upon by Galactus (while heralded by the Silver Surfer) possessed it. Of course, this conceit is, once again, central to the story posited in the original Fantastic Four #48-50, and while I understand that it was the only way to make the story work, I still view it as a cheat. After all, we've come into contact with a host of alien races in the Marvel Universe since 1961, and many of them have displayed similar nobility. The Kree, for example. And, since Galactus is nowhere near as unknown throughout the galaxy as he was shown to be on Earth - and it is often implied that many of the races we've encountered have also fallen victim, at one time or another, to Galactus - it's nearly inconceivable to presume that the Silver Surfer never encountered the aforementioned nobility prior to visiting Earth. Perhaps he merely never took as active a role in the digestion of a world before that point. However, if that truly is the case, one must question why it was so.

A thought on continuity. In the Annihilation series, Silver Surfer was shown becoming Galactus' herald once more. At that point, it would be assumed that his creation was renewed. Thus, the cosmic shell protecting his body would also have been renewed. In fact, a greater argument for this supposed renewal can be seen in current issues of Fantastic Four where the Surfer appears to no longer be held sway to his emotions. All that being said, it would thus imply that this series occurs either outside the normal constraints of continuity, or rather at some distant point in the future where, once again, the Surfer has relinquished his duties as Galactus' herald. Of course, this isn't as difficult as it would seem. It would be made considerably easier now that Galactus has rediscovered his heritage as Galen, sole survivor of the universe that came before ours. He has also been shown in recent years to have a more comfortable rapport with the Surfer. Thus, if several years (or decades, more likely,) into the future the Surfer decided that he was burning out, it's conceivable that Galactus would allow him to retire/resign. After all, Galactus has had many heralds, not the least of which has been the Silver Surfer, of course, and many served him for a much shorter time than he, so even though a herald's individuality may be miniscule when compared to the scale that is Galactus, Galactus may have very well acceded to these wishes.
Back to my original point, this story must therefore be set quite some time in the future - or is it? After all, the FF still seem to be the same age, especially Johnny. Perhaps this story is set outside the constraints of continuity altogether. This may perhaps be the case, and JMS is merely using the characters and their shared universe in order to tell a more concise tale of an individual's struggle to come to terms with his impending death.
Alternatively, this story may have been written prior to the Annihilation event, and thus would remain a logical in-continuity conclusion to the Silver Surfer's story.

My one fear for this series, which, as of this issue, is well written, well thought out, and remarkably poignant, especially for such a simplistic premise, is that it may devolve into "you were killed by my radioactive jizz!" like Spider-Man: Reign did. But perhaps not. And anyways, that story was failing from the very first issue. This one appears to have something to say.

Marvel has spent this current decade doing many similar stories with its characters, telling tales bannered "The End". Most, (with the notable exception of Fantastic Four: The End,) have been quite bad. Hopefully this series, with its remarkably GOOD beginning, will not share that fate.

Oh, and it has BEAUTIFUL art, too.

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